FCM Reveals How it's Supercharging Client Servicing through a Human-Centered Approach to Generative AI
June 28, 2023 –Global travel management company FCM has provided a tantalizing glimpse into how it is leveraging disruptive technologies to reshape the servicing of a multi-national customer base that stretches over 100 countries.
“As the travel industry responds to the AI revolution, FCM is poised to take full advantage of its potential to fuel rapid transformation, and boost innovation and productivity,” said FCM Global Managing Director, Marcus Eklund. “The age of AI presents us with immense possibilities that we are considering across the whole of our business.”
John Morhous, Flight Centre Travel Group's chief experience officer and the architect of FCM’s technology strategy, expanded: “As an early user of AI, we are well placed to adopt the newest technologies to transform our business, empower our people and engage with our customers in a brand-new way. AI has the power to enhance intelligence and creativity while deepening our expertise and insight,” said Morhous. “This presents us with unprecedented opportunities that extend to every touch point.”
While the potential applications are endless, Morhous stresses the need to establish governance and structure, and advocates a responsible co-existence that prioritizes human oversight, where people will continue to provide value that cannot be replaced by software but is, in fact, amplified by it.
“Generative AI unequivocally has an incredible ability to rapidly perform complex activities in the blink of an eye. We predict this will help remove workplace drudgery and supercharge our teams so they can focus on higher value work and personal interaction, which is vitally important to the service we provide for our clients,” said Morhous.
Thanks to a potent combination of in-house developer expertise through FCM’s global digital innovation hub – one of the few companies in the travel business to have this level of capability on tap – and shrewd investments in travel tech, the company is gearing up to unleash the next stage of game-changing advances to enrich customer experiences and add value.
At an exclusive session at leading industry event Business Travel Show Europe (June 28-29), the two-time winner of Plug and Play’s Corporate Innovation Award revealed details around some of the generative AI initiatives under development. This includes:
- Creating personalized policy communications. With this feature, corporate travel managers can dispel standard templates and use AI to be their researcher and copywriter to easily create notifications and “pop up” priorities, prompts and nudges to guide employee booking behavior across major online booking tools and more than 2.000 consumer travel sites. The capability to do this manually is already built within the FCM Extension, but the AI-empowered upgrade is in early tests with customers, with plans for a broader and more permanent rollout.
- Automatic parsing of email itineraries to capture leaked reservations (booked outside the agency and thus potentially outside client policy), thus improving travel manager oversight and awareness of employee travel schedules and arrangements.
- Clarifying and routing travel requests by determining if it should push the user to OBT, Travel Arranger or Travel Agent.
- Capturing all information upfront (when booking a trip or other service) and structuring for the agent to easily take over (limiting burden on agent collecting certain standard information).
- Normalizing of hotel names, locations and descriptions across multiple suppliers to solve an age-old problem of lack of consistency of hotel properties.
- Capturing, understanding and referencing all travel program documents in a single interface to allow full access to policies, contracts and meeting notes, to ensure quick and complete data access for better decision making.
When looking at the benefits of integrating generative AI, Daniel Senyard, head of the FCM Extension, the company’s browser extension tool, said: “The integration of ChatGPT and other LLM technologies in the numerous FCM technology developments underway signifies a considerable advancement in our use of AI and represents a seismic shift in our communication abilities. This is an exciting step towards redefining how our industry approaches servicing and dramatically increases the speed at which we can deliver true value to our customers.”
The company also revealed it is successfully piloting a solution to accelerate hotel data analysis using OpenAI to standardize and enrich data for deeper analytics by pulling in additional information like hotel quality and population density across more than 100 markets. This project is already providing valuable insights, and its scope is expected to be widened in the near future as FCM can now build these capabilities quicker than ever before.
These developments build upon FCM’s current use of AI to power a raft of innovative features within the FCM Platform. These features address client pain points through an integrated customer experience layer to provide instant traveler support and interactive reporting – that gives clients decision-making power to shape data around their travel program – assisted by the humanized AI chatbot within the FCM mobile app.
Morhous concludes future plans are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities around AI to enhance the travel management industry.
“Our continued focus on game-changing technology provides our corporate clients with superior tools and services to help them stay ahead of the rapidly evolving corporate travel landscape. The capabilities and the benefits of generative AI are endless … and exciting. We have multiple projects underway, and others in the pipeline, to explore how we keep on improving our business and reap the benefits for our people and customers.”
FCM is one of the world’s largest travel management companies and a trusted partner for thousands of national and multi-national organizations, including many household brands, Fortune, and FTSE 100 companies. With a 24/7 reach in over 100 countries, FCM’s agile and flexible technology anticipates and solves client needs supported by expert teams who provide in-depth local knowledge and duty of care as part of the ultimate personalized business travel experience. While as the flagship corporate travel arm of the ASX-listed Flight Centre Travel Group, FCM is able to deliver the best market-wide rates, unique added-value benefits, and exclusive solutions for its clients to support their business travel requirements.
A recognized leader in the travel tech space, the company has debuted several proprietary client solutions over the last 12 months including a new omni-channel platform featuring a ‘first of its kind’ customized end-to-end user experience and FCM Booking, an innovative option to traditional OBTs. Alongside its travel management services, the company also provides specialist services through FCM Consulting and FCM Meetings & Events to service the broader needs of its clients. Discover the alternative at www.fcmtravel.com